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Star Wars: Episode VIII - The Last Jedi: Anti-Cringe-Cut:
Star Wars: Episode VIII - The Last Jedi: Anti-Cringe-Cut:

The Last Jedi is a *very* difficult film to improve since Rian Johnson made so many questionable writing and directing decisions that any fan editor would have trouble making a solid narrative experience but Don Kamillo's "Anti-Cringe" cut definitely makes a strong effort. I don't think I could ever really love this film as there are just too many issues with it but this came pretty close to actually feeling like a Star Wars movie where the original does not in my opinion.

My thoughts and observations - in no particular order:

1. The Luke-Leia scene towards the end of the movie is removed which is a shame as it's one of the only "real" (Force projection aside) moments of connection that these two amazing characters get. However, I absolutely hated the "Leia Poppins" scene in the original cut so Don Kamillo's editing choice here was a welcome one. It's a far more devastating end to her character in this edit and the way a later scene is edited showing Luke "re-connecting" to the Force and learning of Leia's death was incredible. I would however maybe cut the later scene a moment sooner as I swear you could still see her fingers twitch. I also think it could be better to somehow rework the background of space behind her as it felt like a flashback more than a look at how she is still drifting in space and Star Wars doesn't really do flashbacks - until Rian came along that is.

2. Luke is a much better character overall. Particular scenes that in the original made me angry are much better here, especially the scene where Luke sees a vision of Rey and Kylo during their (Luke and Rey's) fight where he realizes the need for restraint. It always infuriated me that Rey bested Luke easily (and everyone else for that matter...) so to show that Luke effectively allowed himself to be beaten when he could have easily taken here was a brilliant improvement to the movie. Luke also doesn't "turn evil" towards Ben except in Kylo/Ben's version of events. This is a major improvement as I don't believe for a second that Luke would have gone down that path with anyone, let alone his own nephew.

3. The addition of the "Luke has a moment" scene and the Tribe gathering/party scene were well integrated to the movie, especially the latter. I still think Rey looks kind of weird in her running in that scene but the overall tone of the scene and it being Luke's missing third lesson are welcome additions. However, the pacing of the "Luke has a moment" scene is a little off. It felt like not a moment earlier Chewie broke down the door and then Luke was immediately putting it back up again. Maybe it just felt jarring because I remember that whole interaction very differently, but it still worked overall.

4. The removal of Canto Bight mostly works but it's not perfect. I'm glad to see it gone and while it's not missed it does mean Finn has nothing to do for the majority of this movie. I have seen other versions where the Canto Bight side quest still takes place but it cuts right at the part they escape from the prison cells and removes a lot of the other cringey stuff. This sets up Rose a lot better and actually gives Finn something to do as in this movie he has basically nothing to do and then when he does reappear he is wearing a different jacket which is quite jarring since Poe made a point of giving him back the brown leather jacket from "The Force Awakens".

5. The scenes with Poe, Leia and Admiral Holdo were much better. I always felt Leia didn't really add much to the movie after her "Leia Poppins" moment (other than the touching scene with Luke on Crait) so having her removed and making way for Holdo was much better. That being said, it's still quite a jarring cut when Poe goes from saying "That's Admiral Holdo? Not what I expected" to then the next time we see him, and he comes barging into the bridge and there's already some animosity towards Holdo. I'm not sure how best to fix this but I do wonder if some of that conflict could be maintained. In an ideal world, we could dub Admiral Holdo so that when confronted by Poe about the lack of a plan she could say "Has it occurred to you that we may have a traitor on board? How else could the First Order have tracked us through hyperspace? I am not telling anyone what the plan is until I know who I can trust - and that includes you." This would make sense for the animosity between Poe and Holdo and also work well if the subplot with Finn doing a runner at the start of the movie was kept in as Holdo could have legitimate cause for concern that a former First Order Storm Trooper has suddenly left the Resistance ship right at the time the First Order shows up...

6. The back and forth between Rey and Kylo I think was one of the highlights of the original movie and it's been tightened up here though I'm not sure the moment of Kylo wiping sweat from his brow works as well as the original where water from Ahch To landed on his face. After seeing the Luke force projection trick at the end of the movie I re-interpreted this scene originally to suggest that the water isn't really there but it's a projection. But that's just me. Her not acknowledging the fact that he's topless is much better too.

7. The final battle scene on Crait is better because at least now I don't have to listen to Rey being a backseat driver and telling Chewie how to fly the damn Falcon. It's also good that she isn't also incredible here also (shooting down 3 TIE's at once anyone?...) as let's face it, she really is a Mary Sue. I didn't really mind the Porg's first time round (and still don't here) but as they're massively cut down in this version they suddenly appear a bit too much it seems. Minor quibble though. I also feel that Finn should have died in this movie right at the moment I think we all thought he would. It would require a new VFX shot to accomplish it but I think it would be a more fitting end to his character and hammer home how he is willing to die for the Resistance. Though until we know the plans for Finn in Episode 9 I guess a major storyline change like that would have to wait.

8. Removing Captain Phasma just goes to show how little she added to the movie anyway so good job removing all of that. Likewise, with that god-awful Maz Kanata scene and the "Broom-Boy" at the end.

9. The humour is near spot-on for me. This of course is a personal taste thing but for me all of the lines and bits that worked in the original movie like Luke saying "That is pretty much nowhere", Leia saying "Wipe that concerned look of your face Threepio!" and Luke toying with Rey when she claims to feel the Force and it's just a blade of grass. Removing all of the awful parody stuff and Marvel-esque humour (though I do like Marvel movies it feels out of place in this movie) was a great improvement.

10. Luke doesn't die now and he has a green light saber! I can totally appreciate how this will have an impact on the film that follows but for me it's a much more hopeful ending. Luke having the green light saber was an improvement too though being able to change the hilt to match his ROTJ light saber would be a good visual effect to include for a future effort. In an ideal world though I want to see Luke bring down one or more of those new AT-AT walkers using the Force. Some think it might be over-the-top but I think it would show just how far he's come from being unable to remove his X-Wing from the swamp on Dagobah to bringing down a behemoth First Order AT-AT using only the Force. A hefty VFX shot would be needed for this but I think it could be done.

11. General Hux is massively improved and still carries a lot of weight in this version. Rian Johnson chose to ridicule him which is a huge writing mistake to do that to your villains. I only wish we could have a better explanation for why they don't just destroy the Resistance ships sooner that doesn't require the stupid "limited fuel" and "their ships are faster than ours" garbage. Bigger ships (First Order) = More thrust. Weight isn't an issue in space. Just saying. I always envisioned a line that went something like "Sir, why don't we just destroy them?" being answered by Hux with "We will destroy them soon enough Captain, it's only a matter of time. Their annihilation is inevitable" as some sort of twisted pleasure in knowing that he will kill them all but will drag it out like a cat playing with a mouse. This seems like something he would do and he has the same over-confidence that we also saw in Tarkin in Episode 4 right before the Rebels blow up the Death Star.

12. I think the duel scene in Snoke's throne room is overall very good - both in the original and here - though it's too choreographed and has that glaring error with the guard that has two daggers not stabbing Rey when he could (though I don't know how you could fix this to be honest). The main gripe I have here is that I would remove the part where you can see the light saber turning on the arm of the chair as it telegraphs to the audience what's going to happen and completely ruins the surprise that Kylo is actually going to kill Snoke. By all means keep in Kylo moving his hand as there's enough time for the audience to not quite comprehend what's going on but I'd definitely lose the shot of the light saber turning beforehand. I'd also remove the later scene of Snoke's legs randomly falling off the chair later as it's played for a gag that doesn't really work. Not sure if this is possible to fix in an edit or not though.

13. The one scene that doesn't really work for me but I think you made a good effort was the scene with Luke handing the light saber back to Rey. It just doesn't quite look right with her stepping forward then stepping backwards again (if I remember correctly). I think a better compromise would be to somehow have her still extend the light saber from the end of Episode 7, have him take it, look down at it and contemplate what this could mean before ultimately deciding to drop it on the grass at his feet and walking away. As you'd not need to see Luke's face when he drops the light saber this could work. I see it like this: Use a stand in (dressed appropriately to match Luke) and shoot him from roughly knee or waist height with the camera focusing on the light saber and then drop said light saber prop on to the grass and then cut to Luke walking away as he does in the movie. This would show the same disregard for what it means that I think Rian was going for but without the god-awful disrespect that came with the "joke" of that scene.

14. I agree with some of the other comments that in places the audio sounded a bit more “crunchy” or “squashed” though I’m not expert on this and can’t confirm specifically what caused it.

15. Finally, I think you should remove the “Anti-Cringe Cut” from the opening crawl. The pre-titles with the same thing accomplish much the same job. When the movie starts I don’t want to feel like I’m watching a fan edit and reminders like what’s in the opening crawl do just that.

All-in-all though I’d give this a very solid review! I enjoyed it a lot and while it’s not perfect I think more of that fault can be attributed to Rian Johnson than Don Kamillo as ultimately there’s only so much they can change and adapt from the source material. Great work and I can't wait to see a V2 if you ever decide to do one!


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